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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Castle ceiling caves

Published: March 5, 2010
Section: Front Page

The ceiling and wall of a Schwartz Hall dorm room on Castle Quad caved in Saturday scattering metal, drywall and concrete. The room’s resident Kiernan Bagge ’12 was not injured by the damage because he spent the night in a different dorm room after being relocated by the Department of Community Living (DCL) for what was assumed to be a routine pipe leak repair.

Bagge called DCL’s response to the incident “completely inadequate,” and questions the safety of Castle living.

Bagge returned Saturday afternoon from the East Quad room DCL had temporarily granted him only to find his original room in worse shape than the night before. Debris from the cave-in was strewn across the room, including a large piece of sharp metal in the middle of his bed.

“Facilities has told me that not only is the roof structurally unsound, but one of the walls was rotting,” Bagge said.

Bagge immediately contacted DCL for help, wishing to move the rest of his belongings from the Schwartz room permanently.

“A quarter of my bed was wet and all of my dirty clothes,” he said. “On the bulge in the roof, there was yellowish mold growing though the ceiling.”

DCL did not return multiple requests for comment.

Bagge had asked for help from Facilities to help remove his things from the wet and moldy room, which was promised to him, according to e-mails made available to The Hoot. Bagge was also told Academic Services would contact his professors for possible extensions on assignments after the devastation in his room over the weekend.

“Neither of those things happened,” Bagge said, “they told me I was responsible for everything.”

Since the incident, facilities has visited Bagge’s former residence and put plastic tarp around the ceiling and most of the drywall in a trash can.

Bagge also sought assistance seeking medical attention, without success.

“I have spent a semester and a half in a room full of mold,” he said.

Bagge said his treatment, or lack thereof, showcased the university’s general reactions to problems between its students.

“I’m disappointed with the fact that … we’re living in substandard housing,” he said. “I have not only not received adequate care, but have had to fight every step of the way to get help.”

Beyond that, Bagge said the instance has a larger meaning relative to the other students living in such housing.

“I feel afraid for my neighbors … because there is no accountability, and everyone is on their own,” he said.

“I do not think they care about us,” Bagge said. “The university should have a set of priorities, with safety for its students first.”